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Exodus 19:5-6 1Peter 2:9-10
Concepts of the Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God is wherever God is present and rules and reigns. (Revelation 11:15-18)
In the time up until the coming of Jesus the Kingdom of God was seen, rightly so, as two distinctive separate expressions; Israel would be the source, knowledge and light of the Kingdom of God and these would fall or shine on the nations and save them (Isaiah 45:22-25). However, Israel and the nations would remain two distinctive entities or groups and they would never merge or become one. Israel was the Royal Family and would be entirely separated from the nations who were considered “not a people” (Romans 10:19).
This is pictured by:
• The wall of partition in the Temple. Gentiles crossed this wall in peril of death. (Ephesians 2:14)
• Paul’s preaching after having been arrested in Jerusalem. (Acts 22:21-22)
• Peter’s inability to go to the Gentiles, even after hearing Jesus gives the Great Commission. (Acts 10:9-16)
• Jesus’ encounter with the woman from Tyre and Sidon. (Matthew 15:24-27)
Entry into the Kingdom of God was always based on faith in the atoning work of another. (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 11:13) Passover and the Great Day of Atonement demonstrated this. Paul affirms in his letter to the Roman Church that both David and Abraham were saved by faith in the vicarious suffering of another. (Romans 4:1-12)
The Kingdom of God would be completed or fully consummated and physically manifested, with Jerusalem as its focal point, by the coming of Messiah and Israel’s acceptance of Him. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Psalm 2:1-6; Isaiah 25:6-9; Acts 1:6; Acts 3:19-21) The Bible calls this the “restoration of all things.” Only Israel can bring in for the world the fully manifested Kingdom or resurrection from the dead. Romans 11:15) All those involved with this day of resurrection are the ones who allowed their lives to shine! (Dan 12:1-3)
Jesus and the Kingdom of God
The popular notion that Jesus came exclusively as a Suffering Servant and thus not as Israel’s King is a false one. He clearly offered Israel the full realized kingdom (Mark 1:15) and spoke at length about the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13) but because of Israel’s unbelief they rejected it. He then told that generation that because of their rejection of the Kingdom of God it would be taken from them and given to a people who would bear “the fruit thereof.” This people would shine forth the values of the Kingdom of God to the world and they would be the “not a people” that Israel had to remain distinct from. (John 1:11; Matthew 21:5, 42-44) This people then called out of the Gentile nations would provoke Israel to jealousy and anger. (Romans 9:25-26; Romans 10:19) More important still is the fact that they would become as much a part of the Royal Family as believing Israel was! The mystery that Paul understood about the gentiles was not that they would be saved but that they would become a vital part of the Royal Family or same body or sheepfold that had existed before! (Ephesians 3:6, John 10:16)) These “dogs”, as Jesus called them, would climb over the wall of partition and enjoy the same privileges that had been extended to the first recipients of the Kingdom. They were truly Royal Family and so this is why Peter takes a verse that applies exclusively to Israel in the book of Exodus and applies it to the church. (1Peter 2:9-10) We are not just a saved people but a royal people and we are as such destined to reign from Christ’s very throne. (Romans 8:16-17; Revelation 3:21)
The values of the Kingdom of God
All this means that as members of God’s Royal Family we are to shine and declare it!
1. Bearing the fruit of the Kingdom which in turn means displaying the King’s character in our lives.
2. Bearing the reproach of the Kingdom as we shine into the darkness of our world.
3. Bearing the praises of the kingdom……and;
4. Bearing the seal of the Kingdom. That is; displaying the excellencies of the one we belong to.
The consummation of the Kingdom of God
Only Israel can bring in for the world the fully realized Kingdom of God by the resurrection of the dead. (Romans 11:13-15) The Disciples knew this and “popped” the question just as Jesus was being taken up in glory from them. (Acts 1:6) At that time, because of Israel’s rejection of their King, the manifest Kingdom would be delayed giving opportunity for the Gentiles (dogs) to join the Royal Family (Psalm 118:22-24) but Jesus affirmed that that would change at some point and the Kingdom would be restored to Israel. That is, a process of restoration would begin at some point in history whereby Israel would be restored physically and spiritually and this would lead to the coming of the King and resurrection from the dead. (Romans 11:25-26) We would know of these things when Israel returns to Jerusalem. (Luke 21:24)
We are that generation and so we must now shine as never before because the Kingdom of God is truly upon us. Jesus is coming!
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries